Monday, February 28, 2011

Comics Review -- "iZombie: Dead to the World" by Roberson and Allred

At this point, the living and/or walking dead hold almost no interest for me. Over the past five years, I've received more zombie and vampire novels, comics and pop cultural detritus than I can deal with, and still it keeps coming.

There are a few writers, however, that do I trust to do something interesting with the tired old tropes, and Chris Roberson is one of them. I've enjoyed his science fiction, including the novels "Here, There & Everywhere" and "End of the Century." So, when he comes along with a new DC/Vertigo zombie-starring monthly, my interest is piqued, especially when the art is by Michael Allred, the creator of "Madman."

"iZombie" focuses on Gwen Dylan, a gravedigger who also happens to be a zombie, and her friends: Ellie, a girl-ghost stuck in the Sixties; and Scott, aka "Spot," a "were-terrier." Gwen needs to feed on brains, otherwise she'll become a mindless, shambling husk. The trouble is, after a meal she is overwhelmed by the thoughts and emotions of the recently deceased, spurring her to resolve their unfinished business.

There's a very cool "Groovie Ghoulies" vibe about this whole project, and Roberson's dialogue and Allred's art mesh perfectly, creating a welcome balance of humor and horror. Unfortunately, "Dead to the World," which collects only five monthly issues, is mainly set-up. The characters are introduced, including a pair of monster hunters, a pack of female vampires and a resurrected Egyptian mummy. Some plot complications are set in motion, but nothing gets resolved in this initial collection.

Which is fine, given the narrative potential on display here. It's a fun start, and Roberson and Allred have the chops to ferry this story through many more volumes.

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